The alt music scene here in the 1990s was a diverse and fertile workshop for sounds that varied from sludgy proto-grunge and pure punk-rock to melodic, danceable and jazzy reggae and ska. Perhaps the local band that best personified the latter description in this burg's old-school narrative was Giant Steps.
A ska band active in Burque from 1993 to 1999, Otto Barthel, Rob Kerley, Tom Siegel and company have made it a matter of habit to regularly schedule reunion shows here in town, much to the delight of lingering fans and plain old folks who just wanna dance the night away. The eight-piece Giant Steps return with their “in your face” horn section and their “rude” rhythm section for their latest reunion concert tomorrow at Launchpad (618 Central SW). CrazyFool and The Reagan Motels open the show. Doors for this 21-plus show open at 8pm, and tickets are available through holdmyticket.com. Launchpad • Sat Apr 5 • 9:30pm • View on Alibi calendar
The Blue Hornets suit up for a ska-tastic EP release party
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
Formed after a Giant Steps reunion in 2009—and subsequent nostalgic feelings about playing rocksteady and reggae music—The Blue Hornets hasn’t taken long to become a favorite local band. The nine-member supergroup releases “Selekta EP” on Friday at Launchpad. The Alibi’s Jessica Cassyle Carr spoke with Blue Hornets guitarist and vocalist Otto Barthel about Jamaican genres, the mission of the band’s first album and ska’s fourth wave.
In the '90s, ska was experiencing its third wave, and Albuquerque was experiencing Giant Steps. The seven-member band formed in 1993 from the ashes of notable local groups Beat Fetish and Cool Runnins.
Once upon a time, Robert Kerley was the keyboard player for ska band Giant Steps. The Albuquerque native relocated to Lawrence, Kan., where he still resides, playing in a few bands, including a ska group called Checkered Beat. On Dec. 29, he’s reuniting with Giant Steps for a show at the Launchpad. In anticipation of that reunion, we asked Kerley to put his digital music library on shuffle. “I promise this is how the list came out!” he says. “The sixthsong was actually from another band of mine—I have 30 gigs of music on my Zune and probably less than 1 percent is my own stuff.”
Born Lester William Polsfuss in Waukesha, Wis., Les Paul had just turned 94 in June. He died on Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009.
Les Paul’s solid-body electric guitar started as the basement tinkering of a gifted musician. Where it led was rock and roll as we know it—and the foundation of innumerable permutations we haven’t gotten to yet. Even if you just look at the instrument and the ways its architect figured out how to play it—put aside, for a moment, the game-changing recording processes he pioneered like multitracking, overdub or delay—without Les Paul’s innovations in design and technique, the Book of Rock would have scant few pages and not much of an alphabet. The Edison of amplified music is gone. But because of Les Paul, rock and roll will never die.